- WSL / Ethan Smith
- WSL / Ethan Smith

Australia's best junior surfers have congregated on North Stradbroke Island, Queensland to kick off the 2019 World Surf League (WSL) Junior Qualifying Series (JQS) with a bang. The first event of the Hydralyte Sports Surf Series presented by Hyundai commences tomorrow (12th January) and will run over two days.

Sasha Baker progressed through Heat 4 of Round 1 Vissla Central Coast Pro pres. by Slimes Sasha Baker. - WSL / Ethan Smith

The forecast is promising with 4-6ft of easterly swell to hit the island all weekend, with moderate south-easterly winds and beautiful sunny weather.

Some of the country's best surfers will be competing to gain valuable series points which go toward their series rankings before the next event heads Hydralyte Sports Pro Junior event at Cronulla (NSW) in April, followed by Bells Beach (VIC) in September.

Notable names in the draw include Caleb Tancred, Mikey McDonagh and Kai Tandler. Tandler took first place in the 2018 Queensland leg of the series and is keen to get his 2019 Junior Qualifying Series campaign underway.

"I'm definitely looking forward to it," Tandler said. "It's great having an event of this size so close to home. North Straddie is always heaps of fun, it's an awesome place to go. Having some local knowledge will help for sure."

Mikey McDonagh Mikey McDonagh. - WSL / Ethan Smith

Patcha Luque-Light, Maddison Poole and Sasha Baker are just a few of the exciting names on the female side of the draw with a solid field expected to hit North Stradbroke Island this weekend.

Surfing Queensland CEO Adam Yates is excited to see the Pro Junior returning to Queensland again.

"We're stoked to host a Pro Junior again here in Queensland," said Yates. "The level of talent is so high in this series each year and this event provides our local surfers with the opportunity to demonstrate their skill at home."

The Hydralyte Sports Surf Series presented by Hyundai is set to again propel the country's best young surfers into the future with the full support of Surfing Australia and the World Surf League (WSL).

The 3-event Pro Junior event series will include stops at the legendary Bells Beach, Cronulla and North Stradbroke Island, kicking off at the new Queensland location on January 12th.

"We're excited to be involved in 2019, our second-year association, with the Hydralyte Sports Surf Series events, where we have the opportunity to see Australia's best junior talent in action at iconic surf locations," said Jonathan Biddle, VP Asia/Pacific Prestige Consumer Healthcare and General Manager Care Pharmaceuticals.

Pacha Luque-Light progresses through Round 1 at the 2018 Flight Centre Burleigh Pro Pacha Luque-Light. - WSL / Andrew Hobbs

The WSL sanctioned Pro Junior events, which includes 18 and under boys' and girls' divisions, form part of the 2019 WSL Australasian Junior Qualifying Series (JQS), providing the winning athletes with an opportunity to win a coveted World Title at the World Surf League Junior Championships in 2019.

"Having the Hydralyte Pro Junior Series is a huge help to any young surfer who is looking to gain experience at the next level before moving onto the qualifying series," said 2018 Australasian / Oceania WSL JQS Champion Zahli Kelly.

"As a junior surfer you are still learning everything about competing in a WSL event and these events are the perfect starting point, with the ultimate goal of the qualifying for the WSL World Juniors."

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